October is the month where excitement runs through the science community, as people look forward to hearing the announcement of winners for the Nobel Prizes. Each year, Chem-Station staff writes an article related to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Some readers of this website may have received a gold-foiled chocolate replica of the Nobel Prize medal as a souvenir from Stockholm.
Many of you may know that the front of the medal is embedded with a portrait of Alfred Nobel, but how many of you know about the backside of the medal? This article will talk about the design on the back of the medal for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The design on the back of the Nobel Prize medal
The design on the back of the Nobel Prize medal is said to vary depending on the prize. Interestingly, the backside design for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and in Physics is similar. The image on the top of this page is the backside design of the Nobel Prize medal in Physics awarded to Professor Toshihide Masukawa (Kyoto University), displaying the essence of science.
Professor Hideki Shirakawa, who is the winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, spoke about the backside of the medal during one of his lectures. The medal shows two goddesses on the back. Scientia, the goddess of science lifts up the veil of Natura, the goddess of nature to reveal her face. This may be of coincidence, but these two figures appear to resemble the names of the two representative science journals. From this, it is easy to speculate that the winners of the Nobel Prize have been granted the medals from their success in effectively revealing the natural phenomena that they have observed during their research.